Terri Johnson of Decatur has announced she will seek a third term as Wise County Precinct 2 justice of the peace.
She will run as a Republican candidate in the March 2014 primary.
“I love what I do, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Johnson said in a press release from the Wise County Republican Party. “Since taking office in January 2007, and every day after that, I have strived to be innovative, efficient and hardworking.”
Johnson said it feels like the experiences in her life have led her to this point and this position.
“I have compassion for people when needed, and I’m stringent on people who need it,” she said. “Part of what I love is knowing that you can really make a difference in the lives of people, even if the outcome isn’t what someone wants. If you can walk them through the process and they leave with confidence in the system, that’s important to me.”
Johnson has worked to instill that confidence in not only adult offenders, but youth as well. Her office is handling truancy cases at all but two Wise County schools, and she said she and her staff work hard to hold students accountable and help them fix their mistakes.
She said if students are held accountable the first time, they often don’t make the same mistake again.
“I don’t want to be part of their problem,” she said. “I don’t want to be the judge that the kid says, ‘I wish she would have been harder on me.’ Most of them we see once and not again.
“The laws are the same, but each kid is different, and it’s a matter of finding what makes them stop and think,” she said. “I enjoy that challenge.”
Throughout her time as JP, Johnson has made efforts to run her office more efficiently and implement new technology.
Citizens can now download forms from her office website and return them via email, and they can pay speeding tickets online or over the phone. Johnson is currently looking into how her office’s computer system can be modified to download tickets written by the Department of Public Safety.
“A woman in my office spends four days a week entering those tickets,” she said. “We receive about 550 per month. If we could automatically download those tickets into the system, it would free a staff member to facilitate requests online and handle other tasks.”
While Johnson uses technology to keep her office running as efficiently as possible, she said she doesn’t want to remove the human element.
“It’s a fine line in keeping up with technology and maintaining a hometown feel,” she said.
Community is important to Johnson, and she volunteers with a variety of groups, including Junior Achievement, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Wise County, Decatur Booster Club, Wise County 4-H, Boy Scouts, Bridgeport Butterfield Stage Days and Decatur PTO, just to name a few. She also volunteers with the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association.
Professionally, Johnson is involved in regional and statewide groups. She’s secretary of the Texas Justice Court Judges Association, a board member for the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention, and a member of the Texas Court Judges Association and the Texas Justice of the Peace and Constable Association.
Johnson has a criminal justice degree and has earned more than 1,000 hours of specialized training and continuing education units in civil/criminal law and juvenile and truancy education.
If re-elected, she said she plans to “continue to work hard, keep a low budget and honor those men and women who have died for the right for me to run for office once again.”
“I am looking forward to asking Wise County voters for their support in my bid for re-election,” she said. “I have not and will not take my position for granted. I love what I do and who I work for.”
To learn more about Johnson’s campaign, visit www.judgeterrijohnson.com.